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Juvenile Delinquency refers to antisocial or illegal behavior by children and adolescents. There are several ways to deal with them. They may be put in a detention centre or any other correction institution to help them change their delinquent ways. There are several theories, laws and practices that have been put forward concerning what triggers this behavior and the possible solutions to them. Siegel and Welsh, 2008, have tried looking at some of these factors.
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In chapter 12 of their book Juvenile Delinquency: theory, practice and law. The main discussion is on the aspect of how the community environment is being used to help the youth avoid involvement in delinquent activities. Using this approach, communities first identify the risk factors that contribute to their delinquent problems. The risk factors include drug use in the home and community, long-term unemployment in their areas, poor academic achievement, lack of positive peer influence and high levels of community and family violence. Once these risk factors have ben identified the community increases the protective factors that can help prevent or reduce delinquent behaviors. These may include mentoring programs, organized family activities and creation of job opportunities to occupy the youth. These activities could help in the reduction of delinquent activities in the community.
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Chapter 14 mainly speaks about police work with juvenile activities. It updates statistics on the handling of juvenile matters. Most communities have juvenile police who should specialize in fear reduction, community organization and development rather than the aspect of fighting crimes. Community policing should be on the rise where the police work with the community to address the issue of moral decay. They should help in rehabilitation rather than the mere law enforcement. These activities will help in the reduction of delinquency.
Chapter 15 is all about the Juvenile Court Process. The pretrial, trial and sentencing procedures are discussed. There has been an increase of cases of unfair pretrial detenttion. The question of bail before trial too has been discussed. Sentences should be in consideration of the rehabilitative measure it will offer. Compensation for the unlawful pretrial detention has been advocated for with new rules and regulations being set concerning the issue of detention. The sentence being given to the juveniles should be in consideration of the causative factors, what triggered the engagement in the delinquent activities as this would necessitate varying corrective measures.
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All these factors have been discussed concerning the increase in the number of juvenile delinquents, with the single motive of ensuring that the juveniles are helped accordingly, and that there is a reduction in the number of juvenile delinquent activities in communities. To achieve reduction in delinquency, the combined effort of all the parties concerned is required. Parents, schools, the community and the justice system that deals with the youth involvement in delinquent activities should unite in the effort to help the youth.
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